Trump and Sharpton’s Twitter beef has been stewing for decades

Reverend Al Sharpton.
Reverend Al Sharpton.
lev radin/Shutterstock
Reverend Al Sharpton.

Trump and Sharpton’s Twitter beef has been stewing for decades

Things got heated after the president bashed Baltimore.
July 29, 2019

President Donald Trump has entered into yet another racially insensitive Twitter tumble with a member of Congress, this time over remarks he made while criticizing Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings.

Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to call black lawmaker Cummings a “bully” for admonishing Border Patrol workers, and called Cummings’ West Baltimore district one of the country’s most “dangerous” and “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”

Cummings dismissed the president’s remarks on Saturday, instead asking Trump to endorse legislation to lower the price of prescription drugs for his constituents. Trump ignored Cummings’ retort and instead retweeted a video of a backyard strewn with garbage, saying that the congressman “does NOTHING for his very poor, very dangerous and very badly run district!”

On Sunday evening, the Rev. Al Sharpton shared a picture of himself on an escalator in what appears to be a train or airport station on Twitter. “Arrived in DC from Atlanta, headed to Baltimore. Long day but can’t stop,” wrote Sharpton. Sharpton then announced moments later that he and conservative political commentator Michael Steele would be holding a press conference to decry “Trump’s remarks about Baltimore & its Leadership.” Early Monday morning, Trump took to Twitter to call Sharpton a “con man” who hates “whites & cops.” 

Sharpton quickly shot back, saying that if he was actually a “con man,” Trump would “would want me in his cabinet.” He also shared a photo of himself with Trump in 2006 at a National Action Network convention, claiming that the president was praising his work at the time.

Trump then wrote a string of tweets aimed at both Cummings and Sharpton, claiming that Baltimore has the highest crime rates in the country and that Sharpton often asked him to show up at events. 

At a press conference in Baltimore on Monday morning, Sharpton said that Trump has “particular venom for blacks and people of color."

Now maybe Sharpton was just sticking up for Cummings, but it’s impossible to ignore that the social justice activist and the president have been at each other’s throats for years now. In 2016, Sharpton told the Daily News that Trump only ran for president to boost his brand, while admitting that his relationships with Don King and Mike Tyson led to him and the Donald doing “a little business” together in Atlantic City. And in the 1980s, the pair found themselves on opposing sides when Sharpton was raising money on behalf of the Central Park Five and Trump took out full-page newspaper advertisements calling for the death of the teens. 

This new Twitter outburst follows Trump’s recent scandal in which he told four women of color in Congress – all citizens of the United States, and all but one of them born here – to “go back” to “where they came from.” 

Sadly, the Baltimore area has been especially susceptible to crime, The New York Times reported in May, but incidents of violence have largely been traced back (by residents) to city-instituted segregation. And Baltimoreans were quick to denounce Trump’s remarks about their city. “Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one,” wrote the Baltimore Sun’s editorial board in a seething response.

Meanwhile, Trump isn’t in a great position to throw stones about vermin. It was reported in February that Trump Tower has received health code violations every year since 2014 and that “live mice” were found in Trump Tower Grill. And the president’s senior advisor/son-in-law Jared Kushner owns a series of properties near Baltimore – some of which are infested with mice, the Boston Globe reports.

Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
is City & State's web reporter and social media editor.
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